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Man who fooled Te'o said he wanted no money from Notre Dame star

The SportsXchange

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, the man who perpetrated the Manti Te'o girlfriend hoax, admitted to Dr. Phil McGraw that he was the voice behind Lennay Kakua, and but in no way tried to extort money or gain an advantage through the experience.

"I didn't ask him for anything. I didn't ask him for money, I didn't ask for even for an autograph," Tuiasosopo said during the first segment of a two-part interview that aired Thursday on McGraw's syndicated television show. "I never wanted anything."

Tuiasosopo said he wanted a relationship with the former Notre Dame linebacker. He fell romantically in love with Te'o, and felt Kekua became a part of him.

Tuiasosopo said Te'o knew nothing of the scam, and doesn't believe he ever suspected Kekua was fake.

Tuiasosopo explained that he first came in contact with Te'o through Facebook. As Kakua, he had friended Te'o cousin, and that led to Te'o. Tuiasosopo also met Te'o once at the team hotel, and wanted to tell him his secret.

"It was really awkward at first," he said. "I wanted to tell him everything right then and there, and that's the truth. But, shortly after, his uncle and his uncle's friends and some other family all came in, and I was like, 'Oh, it wasn't the right time."

Eventually, Tuiasosopo decided to end the relationship by "killing Kakua off. He created a cancer storyline and she "died" in September.

Deadspin.com reported the hoax Jan. 16. Tuiasosopo told McGraw that he felt Te'o became a better person because of the relationship.

"If you really look at all his interviews, he felt that," he said. "When he was under the understanding that he lost her, he realized all the good that Lennay had done for him."

Tuisasosopo said he confess to Te'o because he couldn't go on with own life until the truth came out.

"I knew I needed to come clean and make everything right," Tuiasosopo said. "You've heard of recovering drug addicts? It takes a lot of courage to stand and say that. To recover from homosexuality and this type of thing. Not only that, coming back to your real life, as hard as a task as that is I'm going to do all that I can to live right."

McGraw said he was troubled by that statement.

"I hope it's a pressure you don't put on yourself," he said.

Tuiasosopo claimed that he killed Kekua on the same day Te'o learned of his grandmother's death because of an argument.

"It hurt me," he said. "It hit me like a brick wall. I was like, 'Whoa, I've given so much into this.' And I realized right then in that moment, that I poured so much into Lennay, that I myself was getting nothing, and look what I was left with."

Tuiasosopo said he was the voice of Kekua, but initially refused to speak it when pressured by McGraw. He eventually relented, and McGraw vowed to air it during part two of the interview on Friday.
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